Releasing my coffee addiction - a reflection

Has everyone recovered from adjusting their clocks for daylight savings? I know I finally have…because that day was the day we decided in our house to release our dependence on coffee…cold turkey.

But why you ask? I can already feel the anxiety and hear the panicking from coffee-​lovers reading this blog, and the miriad of scientific literature people will begin quoting as to the many reasons we should drink coffee.

This is not a pro vs. cons, yes vs. no, good vs. bad blog post. This is a reflection of my experience over the last few weeks, and why I’m continuing to reduce my coffee consumption.

You see, I totally love coffee. I also love that I can put sugars (honey and agave, while natural, it’s still sugar) and milks in them (goat or coconut for me). I love the feeling of having coffee, I love the taste, and let’s face it, I love the buzz. Caffeine from coffee gives this non-​morning person a needed jolt so she can get moving.

The challenge of course is that too much of a good thing, well, is just too much. Starting with one cup is fine, but then if you’re tired, the cups just keep adding up. I am not a person who thrives well on that much caffeine; more than 2 cups and I’m jittery, anxious, impulsive, and I crave sugar like crazy. The more sweets, the better. The caffeine crash isn’t pleasant, and my already sensitive stomach tends to ache.

Of course, how did I end up in such a place? Normal life, just like everyone else. Health care professionals are notoriously terrible at taking care of themselves, pushing themselves and their deadlines so they can be there for everyone else. As well, habits that make us feel good in the short-​term are that much more difficult when it’s a painful detachment from the item, like caffeine addiction!

So why the cold turkey approach?

There is never a good time to begin anything you really know you should do, but really aren’t motivated to do, either by fear of pain, or disliking change, or inconvenience…so many reasons that we can delay our process. For myself, the pain of not changing always has to be more than the change itself. One of my favourite quotes goes as follows:

To reach for something greater, you must first let go of what’s in your hand.

My greater motivation was to feel more grounded and more like the person I know I am, but I felt for some reason, coffee was getting in the way. I was starting to feel gross, dehydrated, and I didn’t like the anxious-​like sensation in my body. I just didn’t feel like me. Coffee of course is not the only reason I didn’t feel like myself, but it is an easy beginning to a series of changes I had already initiated 6 – 8 months ago in taking care of myself. The decision made itself; we ran out of coffee at home, and decided not to buy anymore.

Will I still have coffee again?

Did I mention I love coffee? I’ve already had some. I’ve had it once each week, on Sunday morning with a late breakfast as a treat. So really, it hasn’t been that long, I know. For a chronic everyday-​for-​8-​years coffee drinker, I’m still very happy with my progress. My goal was not to completely eliminate it from my life, but to feel better in my body. Low to moderate consumption of coffee for me is definitely better, and I’m comfortable with that. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, a health journey; it has to be what you’re comfortable with in yourself.

What I am drinking in the meantime…

I’ve fallen back in love with tea. Being Canadian with very Irish genes, I’ve been drinking all of the teas I like — rooibos, green, black, herbal (nettle, chamomile, peppermint, ginger), and honestly I don’t know why I had been restricting myself to one type of beverage. I’ve also had quite a bit of hot water with lemon — good for the ol’ liver.

Final word

Changes are easy when you’re absolutely ready to make them. The rate at which you make the change is always personal, but it’s never too late and it’s always possible.

Good luck to all of you that are in your pre-​change phases; you’ll release when you’re ready!

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